Other people’s problems

Day 42

I like journalist Liz Jones. She’s paid to be cantankerous, annoying, provocative and difficult. I THINK that’s her writing persona only.. don’t know.

Today, in the Daily Mail (yeah – I do read it alot. Sue me) where she regularly contributes — and annoys loads of readers – the comment section is always brimming — Liz announced to the world: ‘I staggered to Lidl in my pyjamas to spend my last £4 on another bottle of booze. I needed help’: LIZ JONES on finally realising that she had a serious problem with alcohol

I relate to the Lidl scenario. Her other reasons to quit resonate as well:

  • I turn 60 in September. I don’t want to be 60 and still drinking like this.
  • I wake every night at 3am, desperate for water and riddled with worry about money and my future.
  • Invariably I have a headache the next morning, so I start with vats of black coffee.
  • I will then spend all day wondering when would be a reasonable time to have a delicious glass of something cold. I live alone, so there are no disapproving looks.
  • I have hidden a bottle of wine in a wardrobe when people are staying with me, fearing disapproval.
  • I was fast turning into Ab Fab’s Patsy, only not nearly as funny: career women over 50 are now in so much trouble, an entire generation lost to the wine o’clock myth that drinking is somehow OK because we deserve to have some fun.

On the basis of this, Liz chose to quit January 1st. She signed up for a seriously pricey spa retreat (I’m sure paid for by the spa to promote themselves). I mean seriously pricey. For 7 days it costs £5,000 per person. What the whattady what!!!!

I see a shipwreck ahead.  “I could glimpse the rest of my life in front of me. One great big, scary black hole, with nothing to take the edge off.” I have felt that myself, and have fought it off over the last 42 days.

I myself am trying to find other things that replace the scary feelings, instead trying to embrace a sense of wonder at a healthy whole life ahead. I sound sanctimonious, but I’m not. I just relate so very much to what Liz has said. And reminding myself as I read the quote above — what I am doing for myself to fight that feeling.

This makes me sad: How am I getting on now I’m home? These sort of pieces always end with a miracle cure, but it’s more complicated than that.  I’ve now become one of those people who say smugly: ‘It’s 14 days sober and counting!’ But I know in my heart of hearts that it’s likely another setback will send me straight back to the bottle. It’s the only friend I have.”

She is resigned to failure. Liz has sought no support, no personal accountability, no clearness on what she hopes to gain from remaining sober. I wish I could sit and chat with her. Please Liz, don’t go down the rabbit hole. I am not going to allow myself too – it’s not easy, but the rewards are wonderful. I feel great already. Just One. Day. At. A. Time. Liz.

Photo by Ben Cliff on Unsplash